“Your heart stopped for 15 minutes. You literally came back from the dead. It’s a miracle you’re even alive because realistically you shouldn’t be here.”
After gaining conscious I heard those phrases several times and each time I was unfazed. Never once did the thought “wow I’m lucky to be alive” cross my mind. I didn’t feel thankful, I didn’t feel joy at yet another chance at life, nor did I feel hopeful. Each time I was told I was on the verge of death and survived I felt numb, I felt nothing.
I don’t remember the heart attack. I don’t remember the rest of my organs starting to fail. I don’t remember being put on life support and an induced coma, but then again I’m not supposed to. Although what I do remember from the first morning I regained consciousness, I wish could forget. It’s funny how something as crucial yet simple as breathing I always took for granted until I struggled to do it. Waking up with the breathing tube inside me and covering half my face, it was the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. I was disoriented and in so much pain that the only explanation I could muster up for it all in my head was that I’m being punished by being kept alive. After several hours of writhing in agony on a hospital bed with no one helping me, the doctors finally decided my lungs were well enough and removed the breathing tube, which mind you was not a pleasant experience. Every time I think back to that morning I still get chills down my spine.
After that spending numerous nights in the ICU surrounded by sick patients, machines, tubes, and wires and not a single familiar face, unable to move or get a wink of sleep, I couldn’t comprehend how everyone thought I was lucky. A couple of years back I was hit by a car and instantly blacked out. Woke up in a hospital bed to a nurse telling me “you’re lucky to be alive”. When the sedatives wore off, I laughed, unbothered by the fact that my life could’ve ended in a flash of an eye. The months that followed I light-heartedly told that story, understanding the seriousness of it but not caring and instead finding humour in it. I’m constantly being saved and never have I felt grateful for it, in fact sometimes I was even a little disappointed. Maybe one day I’ll look back and read this again and kick myself for being so cynical. However today I feel lonelier than ever and unworthy of this life that keeps coming back to me.
I’ve learnt that it’s not dying I’m afraid of, its living that terrifies me. Living with responsibilities, burden of expectations, guilt, pain and above all feeling nothing at all.